STORYLINE OVERVIEW: Root Causes of Degraded Urban & Rural Streams – attend the Parksville 2019 Symposium and learn why the way we have historically developed land and managed runoff has disconnected hydrology from ecology (Module B on Day One)

Whole-System, Water Balance Approach

We experience climate change primarily though water – intense rainfall, floods, droughts and so on. The major driver of economic growth in the twenty-first century will be responding to climate change, redeveloping our nations, revitalizing our cities and towns, and rehabilitating and expanding our ecosystems. This is not some wistful vision of the future: it’s already happening. To learn more about restorative land development, attend the Parksville 2019 Symposium in April.

Join delegates from the east coast of Vancouver Island and beyond, and attend a ‘watershed moment’ in the City of Parksville on April 2-3-4 for a field day followed by a 2-day symposium. The bridge between the two symposium days is a FREE PUBLIC LECTURE by Storm Cunningham, author of The Restoration Economy. Storm’s lecture is titled “Nature Is Regenerative: We should be too”.

To Learn More:

Read MODULE D – DAY TWO – PARKSVILLE 2019 SYMPOSIUM: “In the late ’90s, I began noticing a miraculous new trend: a number of places – both ecosystems and communities – were actually getting better, some spectacularly so,” stated Storm Cunningham, author & global thought leader


The daily symposium themes are Sustainable Stream Restoration and Restorative Land Development. The spotlight is on why and how local government partnerships with stewardship groups can be transformational and ‘make where we live better’ to respond better to a changing climate. Vancouver Island success stories are beacons of hope!


Connecting dots, a key message is that restorative land development results in sustainable stream restoration. Guided by a whole-system, water balance approach, restorative land development would reconnect hydrology and ecology, and this would: reduce stream erosion, flooding and the associated infrastructure liability; increase the dry weather baseflow in streams; and stem the loss of aquatic habitat and fish.


Dr. Chris May is the headline speaker on Day One of the Parksville 2019 Symposium, and will explain the science behind the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach. His leadership position in Washington State local government has allowed him to put science-based understanding into practice. Kitsap County is a living laboratory for implementing a hydrology-based approach at multiple scales (to build resilience). SCROLL DOWN.

In the 1990s, the ‘salmon crisis’ was the driver for pioneer research by Chris May, Richard Horner, and others at the University of Washington (UW) to correlate the relationship between land use and stream health. Their work was seminal, transformative and far-reaching; shook the very foundations of conventional stormwater management practice; and opened the door for the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach to rainwater management and creekshed restoration.

BC SITUATION (“The Now What”): 

The UW findings are integrated into Stormwater Planning: A Guidebook for British Columbia. The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC continues to build on this foundational work. But opening minds to break with past practices and implement vital changes in practice is a continuing challenge. Opening minds requires patience, perseverance and ‘reachable-teachable moments’ to influence behaviour and thereby improve decision processes. Why is that?

Entrenched beliefs, reluctance to change 20th century engineering practices, and institutional inertia mean that the process to adopt, change or evolve accepted practices is painfully slow. Hence, a desired outcome for the Parksville 2019 Symposium is that…. an informed stewardship sector would be the catalyst for accelerated local government action on Vancouver Island…. to implement restorative development practices guided by the Whole-System, Water Balance Approach.

To Learn More:

To prepare for the session that Chris May will conduct, read IMPROVING WHERE WE LIVE THROUGH RESTORATIVE DEVELOPMENT: Whole-System, Water Balance Approach / Learn more at Parksville 2019 / April 2-3-4 (Announcement #4, January 2019)

Also, download a copy of a Water Balance Approach on Vancouver Island, released in January 2018 by the Partnership for Water Sustainability.